Ciro Santilli OurBigBook.com  Sponsor 中国独裁统治 China Dictatorship 新疆改造中心、六四事件、法轮功、郝海东、709大抓捕、2015巴拿马文件 邓家贵、低端人口、西藏骚乱
As of 2020, university has the following very important applications:
Or as Elon Musk put it:
I think college is basically for fun and to prove that you can do your chores, but they're not for learning
One major issue is that teachers don't have the right incentive to, nor are selected to, teach well. Thus the existence of Rate My Professors! But we can do better...
Which is why Ciro Santilli wants to destroy its current format with OurBigBook.com. He believes that we can find a more efficient organization to achieve both the social and research functions of university, by first doing as much as possible online
Ciro's university experiences are mentioned at: Ciro Santilli's formal education.

The ideal university

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This is a version of free gifted education but more focused on university.
This is Ciro Santilli's ideal university system. It is a system that actually lives up to the name "Open University":
Related:
So far as of the early 2020's, the university that comes closest to some but not all of these principles is the University of the People. It's sad that it's such a crappy unknown thing, but it is what it is.

Free university

words: 219 articles: 5
Related projects:
  • freeuniversitybrighton.org/
    Free University Brighton has been working since 2012 to provide an alternative and for the last five years we’ve been running ‘freegrees’. These are University level courses, open to all regardless of qualification. Our courses range from 4 week long introductory courses aimed at First Years (people who have never been to University before) to 12-week long Humanities, Social Sciences and Philosophy courses that rival anything in a ‘traditional’ University. We do this all with no money exchanged anywhere - no fees, no debt.
    Shut up and show us the courses.

Sitare Foundation

words: 96 articles: 2
sitare.org/
Video 1.
Running a Charity like a Company by Sitare Foundation
. Source.
Amit Singhal
words: 89
Unfortunately accused of sexual misconduct: www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/11/google-executive-payout-harassment-amit-singhal. But one can still do good despite our defects:
Pitched OurBigBook.com to him:
Idea: make all Sitare University materials open, and allow students to write the content
Also, allow anyone to take the exams without enrolling (possibly for a fee if they don't have scholarship).
This is the way to go if you really want to increase your impact/dollar and do something truly innovative that ill make a mark. Why just mirror existing university models that haven't yet caught up to the Internet Age?

University of the People (2009-)

words: 30 articles: 1
www.uopeople.edu/.
Online and free. Pay only for exams, i.e. exam as a service. Almost perfect according to Ciro Santilli's idea.
TODO is teaching material open or not?
Asked: twitter.com/cirosantilli/status/1687865554722562048

University is broken

words: 295 articles: 2
You just have to spend a few minutes with students until they complain about the courses or teachers. And you just have to spend a few hours with teachers until they complain about the students or broader system.
University is broken, and everyone knows it. The only question now is finding a viable, "political cash flow positive" path, into something better.
Bibliography:
medium.com/left-right/the-education-system-is-about-to-implode-5c95f774b523 The Education System is About to Implode by Nicholas Budny (2020)
Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Oxford are luxury goods in the same sense that a Mercedes-Benz might be, or the latest iPhone. They sell an aesthetic experience that provides the consumer with social status, similar to acquiring expensive clothes or a fancy house.
Video 3.
Bar scene from Good Will Hunting
. Source. This scene is way way overdone. But:
Hero: You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.
Bad guy: Yeah, but I will have a degree. And you'll be serving my kids fries at a drive-through on our way to a skiing trip.
The image of an university is basically their only real asset, which they extract money out of via undergraduate students in some countries like the USA, and by getting funding.
For this reason, universities will sacrifice basically any principle in order to give themselves a good image.
Although for profit companies also do this, it is simply on another level for universities.
As of 2020s and much earlier, Ciro Santilli believes that undergrad studies were fundamentally broken (considering the Information Age which completely changed what would be possible) because university had only two goals, with the exception of a few enlightened professors:
  • rank students from worse to best so they can get into PhD programs.
    For regular jobs grades didn't even matter as much compared the prestige of your university (and therefore, university entry exam grades) and your ability to stand the stress of exams to get minimal passing grade.
    In particular, being able to rank requires setting the difficulty level at a point where you can see a Normal distribution in grades, and not have everyone at either 0 nor 100%.
    Also, this split could be caused by either shitty learning materials/conditions, or by mere volume. It doesn't matter.
  • get money from the students. Of course, in countries where university is "free", this means reporting how many students you had to some government office so they can give you a corresponding budget. But you still have an incentive to enroll as many as possible.
As a result, most students, who would not go on to do a PhD essentially do a simple trade: all their time, and possibly some money, in exchange for embuing themselves with the incredible name of a respected institution so they can get better jobs later on.
Beauty, deep understanding, and learning awesome things comes basically as a second thought.
Besides of course sexual selection, considering in this section only "formal learning" activities.
Consider e.g. the 2020 University of Oxford, where many many people are taking courses without any laboratory work (and also without much use at all) like literature and history, and they are paying about 9k pounds/year for it: how much it costs to study at the University of Oxford?.
Basically all of this could be done online from books.
Laboratories are impossible however, because expendables of every experiment you do cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, not to mention crazy upfront equipment costs.
For this reason, the brick and mortar aspect universities should focus exclusively on laboratories, and ensuring that the students with the most relevant knowledge (which can be readily obtained online) get access to those laboratories. Students should of course fully master every aspect of theory pertinent to their experiments. principal investigators should hand pick whichever criteria they want to select their students, possibly based partly on exam as a service if they find it a useful metric.
Furthermore, the use of laboratories should put great focus on novel research. A lot of laboratory instruction could be done from video of an experiments. As much as possible, we should use laboratories for novel research. Related: Section "Videos of all key physics experiments".
You can always learn pure theory later on for free or very cheap from books.
And above all, you can always learn software engineering later on for free, because the programming community is so much more open than any other so far, notably e.g. with Stack Overflow and GitHub, see also: Section "Ciro Santilli's Open Source Enlightenment (2012)". Ciro Santilli is trying to change that with OurBigBook.com, but don't hold your breath. But it is increasingly hard to understand why there isn't an university that forces teachers to publish all their notes and lecture videos (which should be mandatorily recorded) with a Creative Commons License, and then let anyone take whichever exams they want for a small fee or for free.
Actually, there is a good chance you will learn to program, like it or not, because chances are that you won't be able to find as decent a job doing anything else.
But there is one thing you cannot learn for free: laboratory work. Laboratory work is just too expensive to carry out outside of an institution.
Basically, if you don't do laboratory work in undergrad, you will very likely never be able to do so in your entire life.
Because laboratories are so rare and expensive, it is laboratories that put you in the best most unfair position at creating world changing deep tech startups, which is why when in doubt, choose the course that has the most experimental work. Yes, you won't be able to achieve those insanely concentrated equities of the early-Internet, as you will need more venture capital to run your company, but those days are over now, deal with it.
With CC BY-SA of course. Not the evil CC BY-NC-SA.
Any lectures must be recorded. But of course, text is cheaper than video.
Just fucking pay teachers a decent salary comparable to industry instead of basically requiring them to try and sell their knowledge to complement their income. They must get paid, and their knowledge must
We don't need that many teachers teaching the same subjects over and over. We just need a few good men and women who can truly teach the masses. And we must pay those men and women a decent wage.
The perfect platform for this will of course be OurBigBook.com ;-)
This is the actual main function of university for many people as of the 2020s. And it fulfills it quite well. A breeding ground.
In a closely related sense, university is simply a symbol of personal status. Not a place where you go to learn. And especially in the Anglophone world of fancy colleges, university also doubles down as a form of long term luxury hotel. Even if it ends up meaning debt.
There's nothing wrong with sexual selection. This type of natural eugenics is an important part of humankind. It is however just sad that any type of learning falls so much behind. A close second would be fine. But as it stands, it is just too far off.
Related:

MRS degree

words: 19
After learning this term, Ciro Santilli finally understood that his actual major was MR, and not bullshit like applied mathematics or control theory.
For a critique/history of this insanity, see also: Section "Colleges of the University of Oxford".

Public university

articles: 1
Ciro Santilli's general feeling is that university should not own IP, it should belong to the researchers. Instead, university should help researchers make their startups, so they can become big, and then we can tax them and reinvest in the universities.
Of course, this goes through the nonprofit impact measurement difficulty. Maybe we could instead limit the IP to some reasonably small percentage, like 10%?
But still, as of 2020, if feels like universities are way too greedy.

University ranking

articles: 1

University education level

words: 34 articles: 3

Undergraduate education

words: 34 articles: 2

Master's degree

words: 34
In your normal 2020 broken educational system, it is the first time at which students get an official chance to learn something advanced, and possibly prepare to go venture into the PhD desert.
These are the most evil examinations society has.
They mean that until you are 18, you have to study a bunch of generic crap you hate just to get into university. Rather than studying whatever it is that you truly love to become a God at it as fast as possible and have any chance of advancing the field.
And then, if you decide that you want to change, which is not unlikely since you haven't really try to study what you signed up for before then, it can be very hard and time consuming, leading to a bunch of adults with useless degress they will never use at work.
With the invention of the Internet, all teaching material can be free and open source. Only laboratory space has any cost (besides the opportunity cost of participation in actual projects in a research team).
Per-country list: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_admission_tests_to_colleges_and_universities

Universities by country

words: 9k articles: 262

University in the United States

words: 361 articles: 51
archive.ph/GpyQv#selection-925.340-925.495 Reagan's OMB Director David Stockman told congress:
students are "tax eaters... [and] a drain and drag on the American economy." Student aid "isn’t a proper obligation of the taxpayer,"
and then:
In fact, voters were far more likely to punish lawmakers for raising taxes. Elected officials made the political calculus that it was safer politically to divert existing funds from discretionary costs to mandatory costs like health care, prisons and primary education, than raise taxes.

American university

words: 286 articles: 44
Utah's mormon-uni.
Near Los Angeles.
Harvard University
words: 29 articles: 2
HarvardX
words: 5
Harvard's e-learning thing. Weak. Related: The Purpose of Harvard is Not to Educate People by Sean Carroll (2008).
TODO where can all videos be found??
www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/ex-libris-universum/harvard-project-physics-role-history-science mentions that they have a special focus to the history of physics, as can be seen e.g. on The World Of Enrico Fermi by Harvard Project Physics (1970).
CC BY-NC-SA unfortunately.
Upload is actually optional, and it appears that teachers do retain their copyright: ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/global/MIT_OpenCourseWare_FAQs.pdf Hmmm, so how have they convinced so many teachers to do it?
Made huge advances in radar.
Notably, Isidor Isaac Rabi was a leading figure there, and later he was head at the Columbia University laboratory that carried out the crucial Lamb-Retherford experiment and the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of the electron published at The Magnetic Moment of the Electron by Kusch and Foley (1948) using related techniques.
MIT course
words: 28 articles: 1
math.mit.edu/classes/18.783, Wow, good slides! Well organized site! This is a good professor! And brutal course. 25 lectures, and lecture one ends in BSD Conjecture!
Some points from math.mit.edu/classes/18.783/2022/LectureSlides1.pdf:
Not to be confused with the University of Michigan. Not confusing at all right!
Princeton University
words: 60 articles: 1
The "Truth and Beauty" motto hugely coincides with Ciro Santilli's ideas.
Truth is easier somewhat as it is more subjective.
Beauty, like all arts, sometimes you achieve, sometimes you don't.
Searcing beauty is a painful thing. You just keep endlessly looking for that one new insight that will blow your mind.
The key missing point would be "usefulness". See also: Section "Art".
Stanford University
words: 44 articles: 10
The other major university in the Bay Area (and basically in California itself) besides a few University of California places.
The heart of Silicon Valley.
physics.stanford.edu
www.covert.stanford.edu/
Covert Lab
words: 26 articles: 1
www.covert.stanford.edu/
Makes the E. Coli Whole Cell Model by Covert Lab.
Lead: Markus W. Covert.
Covert Lab lead.
Ciro Santilli really likes this dude, because Ciro really likes simulation.
Video 4.
How to build a computer model of a cell by Markus Covert (2020)
. Source.
University of California (UC)
words: 40 articles: 6
The closest site of the University of California to San Francisco. Berkeley, California is a small town on the East of the San Francisco Bay.
The second one of the University of California after UC Berkeley.
The third one of the University of California after UC Berkeley and UCLA.
Lecture videos: podcast.ucsd.edu/ Mostly paywalled, but a few not.
Not to be confused with the Michigan State University. Not confusing at all right!

Brazilian university

words: 694 articles: 7

University of São Paulo (USP)

words: 694 articles: 3
Ciro Santilli studied there for a few years starting in 2007.
In retrospect, doing electrical engineering (and likey the other engineering degrees) felt like taking a trip to the 60s in the United States, due to both the subject matter, and how old the concrete buildings were!
This does not need to be a bad thing. It is in that era (and earlier) that much of the exciting foundations of the field were set, and there is great value in there is value in tutorials written by early pioneers of the field. Not that they were amazing at excting history lessons as they should be. But the course outline suggested that intent.
But that point of view must also be accompanied by the excitement of the great ongoing advances of technology (and impact they had in the past). And on that, they failed.
One day, one day, we will fix that.
www.facebook.com/banheirosdausp
Semi-comical student website to review the toilets of the University of São Paulo. Some of the toilets had a reputation for being terrible.
One is reminded of Crushbridge.
pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/São_Remo
While in Brazil, Ciro Santilli used to walk through the outskirts of a small favela to get to university every day, the Favela de São Remo.
See the street view for: R. Catumbi - Vila Butantã Vila Butantã, São Paulo - State of São Paulo, Brazil, e.g. with this link.
To the left, the outer walls of a large police station, with concertina wire on top and all.
To the right, dudes selling drugs on the entry of a small corridor street, presumably to which they could easily escape to in case of need.
The cops could have identified the dealers with binoculars if they actually wanted to!!!
The drug sellers did keep the peace in their business area, and Ciro never got robbed, and would come back from university parties on foot late through the favela.
But Ciro's friends did say that things got much worse after Ciro left, for example a flash kidnapping was reported in 2015.
Wikipedia says that this favela started in the 60s and 70s as settlements of the builders of the University, and that many of the people there still work for the University.
This is consistent with the terribly old buildings Ciro saw when he was at university. They even had the building skills to build their own homes.
The state just has to either legalize those people, or give them houses somewhere else nearby. A world class University is the most important thing a poor country can have, and its image cannot be jeopardized like that.
The existence of that favela, right next to one of the most important universities in Latin America, puts Brazil's surreal social inequality into perspective. Especially considering that before extremely heavy university entry quotas were added, basically all students of the university (or at least of the courses that lead to high paying jobs) had attended private schools, and therefore were not of the poorer classes (see passage about 10 out 500 passage from Section "Free gifted education").
The janitors of the apartment block Ciro lived all lived in the favela. Yes, in poor countries lives are worth nothing, and some poorer people work by watching the entrance of buildings of less poor people 24/7 to guard it from other even more desperate poor people who might want to rob the not so poor inhabitants. They also do janitor jobs like cleaning common areas in parallel.
They were incredibly nice hard-working people, and Ciro spoke often with them. If only given the opportunity, those people could be amazing engineers or scientists obviously. Ciro was also glad to be their friends, and sat down with them quite a few times for several minutes after coming back from University parties, partly because he felt bad about them having to work at that time, but also partly because he just liked them. And they were always up to date on who had come back with a girl to the apartment or not. Ciro imagines that if it had been him, it would have been a perfect bragging opportunity ;)
They had "nothing" but were still happy. This is true wisdom, and a good reminder that all our non-transhumanist technical goals are nothing.
We must destroy social inequality.

British university

words: 5k articles: 174
No, they are basically not-for-profits, more like what the United States more sensibly calls "private universities". But if they take government funding (directly or indirectly through subsiding enrolment fees?), they have to follow some government rules, and all major ones do it seems: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/49187/in-what-sense-are-uk-universities-public/49188
A similar confusing naming pattern appears to apply to Public school.
In the University of Cambridge for example, all MA degree holders or higher appear to have some voting power: www.cam.ac.uk/about-the-university/how-the-university-and-colleges-work/governance (archive)
This adds an extra layer of difficulty for the average taxpayer to make changes to university policy, e.g. making universities publish all material with Creative Commons licenses. At most, voters could require this indirectly through the government funding requisites. It is a mess.
Not even the Open University seems to be very open!
Ciro Santilli once attended a round table in the early 2020s where a University of Oxford official from the IP licensing department. The University of Oxford took a 20% equity on spin-off companies, not an uncommon University IP ownership policy at the time. At one point, the officer clearly justified this along the following very official sounding lines (paraphrased):
The university is a charity with the goal of promoting education and research. All money obtained is reinvested in furthering education and research.
While noble sounding, this immediately reminded Ciro of Instrumental convergence, in the field of AGI philosophy. Or in other words, of course the best approach to maximize education and research outcomes of society is to first take over the world, and then implement those goals from there! See also Why Not Just: Think of AGI Like a Corporation? by Robert Miles (2018)
Notably, the University of Oxford was extremely protective of its learning material at that time, which was highly paywalled behind university logins, presumably with the rationale of having unique learning materials to enroll more paying undergrads. How can giving out free information to all not be the optimal way to "promoting education and research" is very hard to envision.

List of British universities

words: 4k articles: 171
Nice, nice place. Natural sciences only, no bullshit.
Open University
words: 278
Not really dedicated to open source course material, nor to free courses...
The "Open" in its name only made sense in the 60's, when it was founded, nowadays, there isn't much about this institution that is very different compared to traditional Oxbridge. "Cheap more online university" would be a more adequate name for it.
A system that would truly live up to the name "Open" in the year 2020 is the one described at the ideal university by Ciro Santilli.
Wikipedia even says that the initial focus was on broadcasting learning material on television and radio, so what happened to that now that we have an even more powerful on-demand tool called Internet!
They even created their own MOOC website, FutureLearn. But www.freecodecamp.org/news/massive-open-online-courses-started-out-completely-free-but-where-are-they-now-1dd1020f59/ mentions:
The course content is still free to access, but it’s only available for the duration of the course, and for two weeks after it ends.
OMG. God why.
A few open sources at: www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses. The 5-hour course on particle physics says it all. Stated as of 2023 at www.open.ac.uk/about/open-educational-resources/openlearn/free-learning:
The OU provides around 5% of its formal course materials as free open educational content every year on OpenLearn
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj0rbafFBak What's an Open University Degree Like? by Luke Cutforth (2021) mentions that it is more autodidactic/online, and it encourages part time learning.
youtu.be/rsWwffX-u0A?t=99 Open University - How does it work? by Matt Greg Vlogs (2017) shows that they do have their own custom institutional material. And it is not open???? Please. youtu.be/rsWwffX-u0A?t=222 mentions that there is no entry exam, and you can change your courses at any time, that is good at least.
Israel apparently also created their own version in the 70's inspired by the British one: Open University of Israel. Same story it seems.
University of Bristol
words: 7 articles: 2
QET Labs
words: 7
www.bristol.ac.uk/qet-labs/
Video 5.
Quantum Engineering Technology Labs presentation video (2022)
. Source.
University of Cambridge
words: 281 articles: 20
Video 6.
The Questioning City by British Pathé (1963)
. Source.
Located in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Second largest number of Nobel Prize as of 2019, need on say more? en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Nobel_laureates_by_university_affiliation&oldid=934987075
Teachers appear to own it, just allowing perpetual non exclusive rights to university: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/pdfs/2022/ordinance13.pdf
30. In relation to teaching materials prepared by a University staff member for use in the teaching primarily of the University’s students, unless the Faculty Board or other body responsible for teaching has agreed explicitly to the contrary, the University shall have a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual licence to use the material for teaching in the University.
cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/PH-CAVENDISH-P-00822/1
Figure 1. Source.
A of 2022, the university takes a 15% cut minimum: web.archive.org/web/20220406030627/https://www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk/for-the-university/develop-a-commercial-opportunity/revenue-sharing/
The courses are highly open, almost everything is given publicly except solutions, many of which are given to teachers only. Well done!
Past exam papers index: www.cl.cam.ac.uk/teaching/exams/pastpapers/
www.cl.cam.ac.uk/teaching/2223/
Crushbridge
words: 17
It is good to see that top-universities is still keeping up with it's main purpose: spontaneous eugenics:
Cumbridge
words: 7
www.facebook.com/cumbridgepage/
The porn version of Crushbridge, died in 2020.
University of Cambridge slang
words: 78 articles: 3
Mainsbury’s
words: 78
The relatively large Sainsbury's located at 42-45 Sidney St, Cambridge CB2 3HX. Existed in late 2010's and early 2020's Ciro Santilli witnessed.
Being the only relatively large grocery shop in central Cambridge near several colleges, where manu students live, makes this one of the most popular grocery shopping location for many of the students.
The Oxford equivalent has to be the Tesco Express on Magdalen St, Oxford OX1 3AD, but not sure if there's a name for it.
Bibliography:
Figure 2. Source.
Night climbing
words: 10
Their only undergraduate courses that matter:
agents.inf.ed.ac.uk/
University of Oxford
words: 3k articles: 134
This section is present in another page, follow this link to view it.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_Canada

Dutch university

words: 16 articles: 2
ocw.tudelft.nl/
They have a lot of stuff, well done.
CC BY-NC-SA by default unfortunately, but what can you do...

French university

words: 3k articles: 15

École Polytechnique

words: 410 articles: 10
This section is present in another page, follow this link to view it.
This is the one where French Nobel Prizes come from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_École_normale_supérieure_people#Nobel_laureates
Their split in 1970 was a huge fuck up. If it were a single entity, the university would likely be in the top 10 university rankings, undoubtedly top 20. But as of 2020 French universities only appear instead in the top 40s or 50s.

German university

articles: 1

Italian university

articles: 1

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